Monday, June 21, 2010

The Cleveland Apollo: The German Connection

It is reported that the Cleveland Apollo was found in the garden of premises inherited by Ernst-Ulrich Walter in eastern Germany. Who is this individual?

There is a helpful discussion of his collection by Katlen Trautmann ("Der Schatz von Göda", June 6, 2004). I presume it is the same individual. The Ohio press describes Walter as a retired lawyer and Trautmann states: "Ende 2003 gab er nach über 50 Jahren als Anwalt die Kanzlei in Wuppertal auf".

Trautmann describes entering Walter's farm:
Buddhas und Bodenvasen, Schnabelkannen und Schwerter, Korane und Gewänder aus den entlegensten Ländern des Ostens und Südens fügen sich zu märchenhaften orientalischen Zimmern - mitten in der Lausitz.
But where did this material come from?
Die Stücke sind weder geerbt, noch vom Himmel gefallen. Zeit seines Lebens bereiste Walter die arabische Welt und Südostasien, er kennt sie nun wohl so gut wie seinerzeit Sindbad, der Seefahrer.
Walter clarified: "Von jeder Tour bringt er Kunstwerke mit."

So was the Apollo indeed in the German garden for a hundred years or so? Or is there a possibility that it could have been collected on Walter's post-war travels?

There has been subsequent discussion of the "collecting history" of the Cleveland Apollo in the German press (Matthias Schulz, "Waldgeist im Fischernetz", Der Spiegel 26. Mai 2007).
Dass die wohl einzige Original-Praxiteles-Skulptur der Welt in der sächsischen Provinz herumgammelte, klingt unwahrscheinlich. Die Griechen halten die Version denn auch für Quatsch. Das Landschloss sei nichts anderes als eine "Weißwaschanlage", um die wahre Herkunft des Objekts zu verschleiern.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a responsibility to make the full documentation relating to the Apollo public. Curators at the museum may not be aware of the AAMD position on this:
AAMD is committed to the exercise of due diligence in the acquisition process, in particular in the research of proposed acquisitions, transparency in the policy applicable to acquisitions generally, and full and prompt disclosure following acquisition.
Can we expect "full and prompt disclosure" in the near future?

But there are other questions to ask.

When were the tests done? How were they supervised? How were the samples protected? Can we be sure the samples came from an attachment that was fixed to this statue? Could the attachment have been added at a subsequent date? Are the results secure?

Or are they open to other interpretations?


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1 comment:

Marc Fehlmann said...

Why does everything have to be GREEK? Have the Greeks proof that the "Cleveland Apollo" was found in their waters and not at Punta Serrone or any other ITALIAN under water site known for having been the find spot of ancient bronzes? And what's about the Albanian coast?

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